Esme was concerned. Carlisle had been on the phone constantly since they had left the shifters. He hardly spoke to any of them instead choosing this mysterious friend over them to concentrate on. Whoever it was, Carlisle held them close to his heart, closer she feared than any of them could ever hope to be.
As Carlisle dialled again and waited for the other to pick up, she bit her lip. Never had Carlisle been so focused on one person in his entire immortal life. It was a chilling thought especially coming from said vampire's' mate. If Edward and Jasper hadn't been around to reassure her, she would have accused him of infidelity. However Jasper was the first to sense it. He explained that though what Carlisle was feeling was confusing, the love towards the other person was parental only. Edward confirmed this allowing Esme to relax significantly. Yet her mate was still rather worked up.
Whoever Carlisle was calling it was obvious they shared significant past history that no one was privy to. The remorse Jasper felt was nearly breath taking, leading them to believe that an argument had separated them many years ago. What it was they didn't know but it had obviously taken place well before Carlisle had turned Edward as he'd never met anyone that caused Carlisle such grief.
Eventually the line connected and Carlisle exhaled shakily. The relief felt so strongly, Jasper actually melted into the couch.
"Harleigh, I need your help."
Harleigh, they finally had a name for this person also more than likely a gender. It was the only bit of information they had on this person so they clung to it, eagerly waiting to hear more since Carlisle was rather tight-lipped on the topic.
Yet it was a surprise to them when Carlisle continued to speak. They hadn't even heard the other speak. With their hearing it should have been impossible but they were proven wrong as Carlisle replied to the person in a tone leading them to believe the other had at least spoken a few words.
"No, I would never ask that of you."
It was rather shocking knowing a conversation was occurring yet not being able to hear the other end. Hearing the other end of conversations had become the norm for them. Not being able to hear merely intrigued them further. It granted them something new in their lives that rarely occurred often. Mystery was hard to come by for an immortal being.
"You must understand I believed that to be for your own protection I never thought it would drag out this long."
Another pause was heard as Carlisle listened and paced around his study. The conversation obviously wasn't heading in a direction that he desired as his frustration could be felt by everyone and not merely Jasper.
"I would do anything for you, never doubt that." Carlisle informed Harleigh harshly.
Everyone was taken aback. Esme frowned taking care to keep her anxiety away from Jasper. Carlisle never spoke in such a way with anyone. What was between them that made Harleigh so special? Why was this one person different to any of them?
"Circumstances haven't been the best I'll admit but-"
Carlisle snarled as the other interrupted him. Jasper informed them that Carlisle was feeling frustrated and particularly guilty over what Harleigh was saying. Whatever Harleigh was accusing Carlisle of was clearly hitting home and evoking memories that their father would rather forget.
"Please this wasn't what I called you to discuss."
The guilt increased steadily as the other replied. Jasper and Edward were being hit rather hard with snippets of images and emotions that didn't make any sense to them and couldn't be pieced together in any structure. It provided them with no insight to Harleigh.
"Thank you, we have a small problem here with a newborn army that is gathering and too has become too much for us to handle."
There was a small pause.
"No, it would take too long to explain over the phone. Besides, I believe it would be good for everyone to meet you and for you to join the family."
Nerves were creeping in as he said that, Jasper informed them. He was nervous to have Harleigh around them. Questions arose within them again. If there was one thing could be said about vampires it was that they craved the curious. They just didn't do too well with patience. Having the answer was really all that mattered to them and this one eluded them all.
"Of course, I understand. Everything shall be done at your discretion."
Esme found herself rather startled. Carlisle was going to cater to Harleigh's every whim even though he said family came first. He'd always taken his words seriously before. Harleigh was obviously a very important person in her mate's life for him to disregard this. How he'd never been mentioned or seen before was beyond her.
"I look forward to seeing you once again."
There was definite joy with Carlisle at that thought. No one needed Jasper to tell them that. Harleigh would be joining them soon and they had no idea how to react to that. This Harleigh was an unknown entity to them. All they knew was his name, that he was close to Carlisle's heart and he wasn't a vampire. They had also deducted that Harleigh had come across Carlisle (or the other way around) before Edward was turned but they had yet to confirm it.
The conversation between Carlisle and Harleigh finally drew to a close with their goodbyes. In all honesty Esme was relieved. With Harleigh in the picture they saw a side to Carlisle they weren't accustomed to. It wasn't terrifying; they just weren't used to it so it unnerved them greatly.
Carlisle walked downstairs an air of great joy around him. It practically vibrated visibly around him. The family hadn't quite seen anything like it in a long time and it was all because of Harleigh.
"What are you all still doing here? I thought you had school this morning. If you don't leave now you'll be late." He scolded.
Edward was the first out the door and speeding down the driveway. He still had to go and collect Bella, a thought that had slipped his mind with all the excitement. Rosalie and Emmett were out soon after followed by Jasper and Alice.
Carlisle chuckled before kissing his wife who would be remaining home that day
"I'll be expecting Harleigh to turn up later this afternoon." He said not upset at being overheard. "Don't fret too much if he doesn't respond to you either. He's a little… bitter about much of his life. He'll probably just wait until I come home before responding. More than likely he'll spend the time reading. Just don't bother him and you'll be fine."
With that said Carlisle walked out the door. Esme sighed. Had that actually meant to reassure her? If anything it only concerned her more. Harleigh would be arriving any time after midday. Without any warning he would turn up at their doorstep, barge in disregarding anyone inside and make himself comfortable. It wasn't the most comforting of thought ever but what was she meant to do? All she could do was continue with her daily routine and hope for the best.
Bella was curious as always and her curiosity was always doomed or so Edward believed. Her curiosity had led to their less than healthy relationship and to the situation they currently needed to deal with. She had no friends outside of their family because she'd driven them away. Curiosity was her downfall which was why when questions started about who was going to aid them, Edward didn't answer her.
As it was he was having a tough time attempting to keep his own questions to himself. The small amount of information he had gathered from Carlisle's mind wasn't enough. He had a name, Harleigh, and the belief that Carlisle had met him long before he was turned.
Everything that had occurred during the memory was in a time of witch hunts yet truly anything that was seen as different was taken to the stakes, Harleigh's family amongst them.
However that didn't explain several items Edward was most curious about. Why was Harleigh chained to the floor of Carlisle's basement? What purpose did all of the books have? Why was Carlisle so strongly drawn to protect him after all these years?
"Edward, you'll get your answers when we go home." Alice said, tiring of his constant faraway look.
"Have you seen him?"
Alice replied negatively. "He isn't something I've ever been so like the shifters I can't see him. However I did see we'll be surprised when we return home."
Rosalie frowned and leant closer into Emmett. She was doing her best to hide her thoughts from him but Jasper could still sense her emotions.
'She doesn't want someone unknown within the house.' Jasper deciphered. 'Rosalie believes the boy could be highly dangerous and that Bella is enough even if she doesn't accept her.'
That was one thing you could always count on with Rosalie. She, like her 'twin', would always be suspicious of someone new entering their family or home. Yet there was nothing they could do about it. They could frown and complain about Bella because Edward had brought her in but Carlisle was their sire. Even if he ran the coven more as a family they couldn't complain when he made a decision in their best interest.
"So who is this person?" Bella fished.
Edward could only answer her as truthfully as possible considering se was at the centre of this mess.
"He's an old friend of Carlisle's who he called in to help."
Bella blinked as she received the only information they had. She didn't bother hiding her disappointment knowing Jasper would tell Edward. It was through this direction she hoped to gain more information.
"Isabella, that is all we know." Jasper replied.
It certainly hadn't been what she was hoping for but Bella allowed it to drop, upset that Jasper had used her full name. She knew that a few of the Cullen's didn't accept her in Edward's life but they would eventually get used to the idea. They would have to at least to keep the peace.
'Bella won't be coming home with us.' Alice informed Edward.
Edward shot her a curious look missed by humans.
'If she does and meets Harleigh before Carlisle returns it's likely that Carlisle will attack Bella to protect him.'
That certainly stirred Edward's own curiosity.
Carlisle had never been so protective of their family in his immortal life. He cared for them surely enough to move whenever they were in danger of being discovered but never enough to attack a human. Human life had always been sacred to their sire enough to lead to a vegetarian lifestyle. It appeared though that everything Carlisle believed went out the window when it came to Harleigh.
To Carlisle, Harleigh's life was more important than that of his family. For that to happen, the connection between Carlisle and Harleigh must have been very strong. The bond between them would have to be unbreakable like that of a mate. Yet he knew that Esme was Carlisle's mate so that wasn't a very reliable presumption. Especially since the bond between Child and Sire wasn't that strong.
The bell rang and Edward moved automatically thoughts still focusing on Harleigh. Regardless of how hard he might try pieces of this puzzle simply weren't sliding into place. Harleigh wasn't human since Alice couldn't see him. In some way he was supernatural but he wasn't a vampire or a shifter. He was older than Edward's one hundred and seventeen and possibly older than Carlisle but that couldn't be confirmed. The bond between them was stronger than that of Sire and Child, rivalling a mate bond yet wasn't.
Nothing to do with Harleigh seemed to fit. It was rather irksome.
In some way he needed to gain more information. Carlisle was a lost avenue. If he was so protective he would attack Bella to keep Harleigh safe he wouldn't simply go around and hand out information. Harleigh probably wasn't a viable option either. Though he had a mind of his own, it was unlikely Harleigh would share any information with a group of people he hardly knew. No, the only option Edward had was to rely on his own ability and hoped that it worked.
"Edward, are you alright?" Bella's voice cut through his thoughts.
"I'm fine, why?"
It was then that he noticed they were no longer in class. They were outside and everyone was relaxing, chatting and leaving. Edward would have groaned had it been something he did generally in school for his teenage persona.
"You zoned through that last class. It's already home time."
Alice's giggling certainly didn't help him at all.
"We really should be heading home, Esme will become worried if we are late today and I rather doubt Carlisle will be pleased either." She commented.
'You should take Bella home now. We're going to head home but we won't wait for you.'
It wasn't very subtle but it was Alice's way of telling him if he were late because of Bella the group wouldn't wait to have their first glimpse of Harleigh. Edward wouldn't have it either. There was no way he was going to miss this grand entrance.
"I'll drop Bella at home." Edward confirmed.
"But I want to meet this person that has you all so flustered." Bella pouted to the group in general.
Rosalie shot her a scathing look. Other than that everyone else looked away uncomfortably. No one was going to play with their favourite human today not even Edward. Today was simply too big for anyone to mess around. If they ruined this for Carlisle it wasn't likely they would get another chance at this.
"Come on Bella." Edward led Bella away from a very thankful group.
"What do you think of this Harleigh?" Rosalie questioned once she was out of earshot.
Emmett looked excited at just the thought of another person around the house. Jasper was calm and didn't offer his opinion in this matter. Alice on the other hand went straight to answering her.
"I think he'll help us. I just don't know how. It's obvious that he's going to be able to aid us with our rogue vampire problem but there is something more that I'm just not seeing." Alice explained.
"He isn't going to become another problem like Bella is she?" Rosalie snarled.
It wasn't a secret that Rosalie despised Bella but Alice still pouted in defence against her friend.
"I know that he has problems Rose but they aren't anything like Bella. No, I think Harleigh will be good for the entire family."
"We'll wait and see shall we?" Emmett smiled attempting to placate his wife.
Rosalie sniffed but didn't say anything further. Together they started their vehicles and began the drive home wondering all the while what change Harleigh would bring to their lives.
Carlisle stood within the cellar of his home. The first memory he recalled of this room was when he'd been six and his father had expressly forbidden him from entering. It wasn't a place for young children to play, was the explanation given every time. Yet he had always known that it was being used for something more than to hold expensive bottles of wine. He just didn't know exactly what his father used it for.
A few times, he had spotted his father enter the cellar and disappear for a few hours. No sounds emerged from the cellar during this time though there was always a sense of foreboding. His father returned later like nothing had ever occurred but Carlisle knew that something bizarre was happening in that room.
When he'd turned fifteen, his father had instructed him to enter the cellar and retrieve a bottle of wine. He'd been given the exact row to retrieve it from. All he had to do was open the door, walk down the stairs and grab the bottle. It was as simple as that. Yet he'd stalled upon entering.
The room was nothing like he had imagined. Rows had lined the room, keeping the centre clear. Filled with those rows were the occasional book or object and a specific row for wine and other drinks for the adults. It looked completely normal; more like a storage room than a cellar. Stunned, he'd merely grabbed the bottle his father desired and walked back up the stairs.
He hadn't worried about what was in the cellar since… until now.
His father had been heading a project which the town had merely called Hunt. Carlisle had believed that this group merely gathered to create ideas to help the nearby failing crops growth. They needed the improvement if they planned to make it through the following winter. Without those crops they were helpless and many would starve. Yet he'd been wrong.
They were Witch Hunts. His father and the other farmers were blaming the failing crops on the supernatural.
As the head of this group, his father picked out houses seemingly at random and accused them of witchcraft. How his father knew they were the real deal was something Carlisle wasn't privy to. All he knew was that when one of the family members were caught using something that could be accused as such, they were dead the next day. Whether it was mixing simple concoctions or gathering healing herbs they were accused. His father left none of the accused alive and ash would cloud the air the following morning.
Everything that his father had worked for, had led them up to this moment. Carlisle was going to start working alongside his father. Carlisle's mother couldn't have been more pleased with what her men were doing. Yet Carlisle always had second thoughts especially when he watched entire families burnt for a silly notion such as keeping books.
He had turned twenty a few days ago and all he desired to do was become a healer. Carlisle wanted to save people from death and illness and many thought that this was a wonderful idea since they didn't have one in their village any longer. The poor old woman had been accused of witchcraft months before.
His father did not. No, his father thought it to be a useless task and decided that his son should take over where he began, killing the supernatural. That was why, currently, he was absolutely petrified.
His father had told him to walk down to the cellar and wait for him there. He wasn't to touch anything or give aid. Carlisle's twenty year belief that there was more to their cellar returned and now he knew why it always remained in the back of his head.
There was no longer wine in the cellar. This time his father was using the cellar to hold a prisoner and not just any prisoner. His father believed this person to be a witch.
The door appeared cold and foreboding once again like it had as a child. Carlisle wasn't prepared to walk down alone yet his father would be displeased if he didn't. They were to be working together and if he couldn't handle walking down wooden steps then he may as well attempt to live another life away from his family.
Swallowing, Carlisle creaked open the door. It was difficult, he realized, to go against your own beliefs to keep your family happy. But he had nothing to turn to should he do so. There was nothing for him to cling to should his father decide he was unworthy. The stairs shook beneath his legs… or perhaps that was simply him. Carlisle couldn't tell with any certainty.
The cellar was bathed in darkness when he arrived. Trembling fingers lit a match and the following candles he knew were around the room. Memories flooded him. But none could compare to this. There was someone in the room with him. The breathing was very prominent and constantly hitched as if attempting to hold back tears. Truly, Carlisle hadn't any clue what his father had down here and now he was questioning his own sanity for walking down here alone. But he had to prove to his father he could do this. He needed his father to see he was worthy.
Carlisle turned around. The teen shrunk away from him.
Horror filled Carlisle. His father had a teenager in their cellar chained to the floor. The chains were silver and rapped around the teen so tightly he could only move around by inches. There was certainly no escape from them without help or the key to the padlock which hung heavily in front. Carlisle couldn't aid the teen before him any more than he could himself.
"What is your name?"
The teen only shrunk further away from him. Carlisle flinched. He didn't want this person to fear him. He didn't want anyone to fear him but he couldn't bring himself to overpower his father and aid the teen. He didn't want to see disappoint in his father's eyes.
"Please, what is your name?"
"Carlisle, we don't ask these witches for their name. They will only lie to save their own skin."
His head snapped up to see his father standing at the base of the stairs watching the pair of them. A glint in his eyes caused Carlisle to step closer to the teen. Something here was terribly wrong. His father never looked at any of the other accused in such a way. He looked curious and dangerous whilst usually he just stared at them all in disgust. This was terribly wrong. Then his words clicked into place.
"He's accused of being a witch? Father he barely looks old enough to plough fields."
"Don't worry over his age, Carlisle. I have plenty of evidence to back up my theory. No, I know that he and his family are the real deal. He's a witch and I want to see what some of his spells do."
It was only then that Carlisle noticed what the items collecting dust on the cellar shelves were. There were books and cauldrons and other items that had Carlisle shifting uncomfortably. The teen hadn't uttered a word at his father's accusation but Carlisle still held doubts. How could this slip of a teen do anything that would harm anyone within this village? Actually Carlisle was positive he'd never even seen the child within this village before. Where had his father found such a person?
"Are you positive about this father?" Carlisle uttered shakily.
If the teen wasn't from around here then he might be able to handle whatever his father had in mind. However with the age difference between them only appearing to be a few years Carlisle was still wary. If he was accused by some villagers would his father do the same to him without any reason? Carlisle didn't know but he wanted his father to be proud of him.
"Of course my son, I would not allow you to do this if I had any doubts." His father's grin did nothing to reassure him but he knew what he had to do.
"Alright… I'm ready to begin."
Carlisle snapped himself back to the present. To say Harleigh's homecoming scared Carlisle would be an understatement. His mind refused to remember anything that he'd done to improve Harleigh's living conditions even back then. It was only after his turning had everything changed. He'd been free of his father but he'd managed to curse Harleigh even more. He hadn't given up though. He hadn't thrown Harleigh away. Yet that was the only positive thing. In the end he'd merely pushed Harleigh aside for others. It certainly wasn't something he was proud of.
Yet in all other aspects of his life Carlisle had been exemplary. He had his mate and his children and they all loved him. They respected him. For some reason when it came to Harleigh his actions only made things worse for both of them. But things would be different this time. With his families support they would both get through their past. They had people to lean on now unlike before. Carlisle was positive they could fix their fragile relationship.
His watch beeped signalling the end of his shift. His excitement fuelled his speed though he was careful not to move too quickly for the humans he worked around. Carlisle smiled dazzling a few patients and doctors before sweeping out. Together Carlisle was certain they would get through this.
This story probably won't have regular updates but it isn't abandonded I promise! Hope youenjoyed it.